AUTHOR: Madlen Kobi
CONTEXT: Collaborative Workshop with anthropologists, artists and architects in and about Chongqing, 2.-8.12.2017
KEYWORDS: China, Chongqing, winter climate, art, everyday life, material culture
Climate and place-based weather conditions significantly shape everyday practices of urban residents. This workshop explores the different facets of how the subtropical climate has influenced the living conditions in the city of Chongqing. Summer months are extremely hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius and are mitigated through the use of air-conditioned and ventilated spaces among others. This workshop, however, inquires into the often neglected winter season in a subtropical city. Chongqing winters are mild (5 to 10 degree Celsius in the coolest months). Because most apartments have no heating appliances, outdoor and indoor temperatures are often the same. The seasonal temperature and humidity variation impacts on the local social, cultural and natural environment.
Urban residents in Chongqing are very creative and use rich daily practices when it comes to create comfortable spaces in winter months: food preferences, clothing choices and the use of objects and materials like portable heaters, warm indoor shoes, warming blankets etc. are used to stay warm. Winter climate also changes sociability: due to the unheated indoor spaces, sociability rather takes place in public spaces. This workshop aims to engage with the man-made, socio-technical ways of coping with winter climate in Chongqing. It offers space for 10-15 local and international artists, architects, environmentalists and anthropologists to explore how social practices are lived and influenced by the winter season.
The workshop is structured in three parts:
1. Two-day input phase: on-site visits to artist studios, residential houses, agricultural fields, public places and other places of interest with regards to winter activities. Inputs by local architects, artists, anthropologists and environmentalists on different aspects of winter life.
2. Four-day production phase: Individual or group work on a topic related to winter in Chongqing. This can include art, performance, installation, ethnographic fieldwork, photography or other approaches.
3. Exhibition: The projects and research results of this four-day engagement with winter in Chongqing will be exhibited to a public audience in the venue of the Organhaus in Chongqing.
Through the engagement with public and private spaces, we aim to find out about place-based knowledge and skills how the winter climate in a subtropical zone found its way into local ways of living. The workshop aims to create knowledge through seeing, touching, smelling, and experiencing the local environment and interacting with local residents. Further, the individual projects followed during the production phase provide space for a deeper inquiry into selected topics. The interaction between foreign and local scholars and artists guarantees fruitful discussions as different perspectives on local practices mingle.
Verena Zimmermann, Goethe-Institute Chongqing; Madlen Kobi, Università della Svizzera Italiana; 李丽Li Li, Coordinator Organhaus Chongqing
Organhaus art space, 501Art Base, Huang Jueping Street, Jiu Longpo District, Chongqing